This year's Challengers' League, played between the top 8 available players coming out of the Candidates' Tournament, took place at the Goddard Arms in Swindon on the second May Bank Holiday weekend. Paul Barnard and Nick Wedd kindly officiated the proceedings.
Andrew Kay (the reigning British Champion) won all of his games to lead the field, followed by Andrew Simons who won all of his games except for his game against Andrew Kay. Charles Hibbert, playing in his first Challengers' League, finished with 4 wins in third place. Tim Hunt and Alistair Wall were next, with 3 wins each, followed by Richard Hunter and Harry Fearnley on 2 wins each. James Hutchinson completed the field with one win.
Being the top two players at the end of the Challengers' League, Andrew Kay and Andrew Simons will now go on to play for this year's British Championship title.
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Bob Hitchens reports:
I heard at the weekend of the death of Neil Stein.
I realise that members probably do not know Neil, but some players who were around in the 1960s will.
He was a founder member of the BGA and helped create the BGA’s first bank balance of any size when he recognised the possibility of compensation from University College London for cancelling our booking for the first European Congress to be held in Britain. That opened up a lot of possibilities for the BGA.
When I came on the scene he was the strongest British Go player at 1 kyu. John Barrs was 1 dan with perhaps an honorary element in it, but Stein had the beating of him.
Des Cann won the Bracknell Tournament for the first time. This was hopefully good preparation for his trip to the World Amateur in June. Others of the 26 players winning all three games were Roger Daniel (5k London) and David Storkey (7k Exeter). Arundel won the team prize, Francis Roads the 13x13 on a tie break, Jil Segerman the problem-solving competition and Pauline Bailey the caption contest.
The Spring 2015 edition of the British Go Journal, number 171, is now available in the members' area as a PDF and should be soon arriving in the post with members (except for electronic only members).
The UK held on for a draw in their 10th game in the C-League to win promotion to the B-League with one match remaining. Des Cann was the last to finish after a long game against Iceland's Hallbjorn Gudmundsson, but won by 16.5 to tie the match. Earlier Jonathan Gallimore quickly forced Benedikt Birgisson to resign, but Chris Bryant lost by resignation to Thorbergur Olafsson and then Sandy Taylor lost to Olafur Siguroarson by 3.5.
Second placed South Africa only managed a draw too against Lithuania, but Bulgaria beat Portugal to be placed just behind South Africa on boards won tie-break. Also vying for the play-off place are Croatia and Lithuania who are only one match point behind the other two.
Following on from Chris Volk winning it last year, the winner this year was German 3 kyu Tobias Ungerer from Cambridge University, who won 4 out of 5 games. His only loss was to Bogdan Ghica who came second on tie break from Richard Mullens and James Murray.
The tournament was generously sponsored by an anonymous benefactor who wishes to support the Bar-Low as a great way to encourage and benefit developing players and so the winner went home with a prize of £30. The second biggest prize was awarded to young Alex Terry (10k), who also won 4. Bob Dryden had estimated his grade at 10k, but won all his games and generously declined a cash prize.
Andrew Simons won all his games to win the first stage of the British Championship. The Candidates' Tournament was held this year at The Fulbourn Centre near to Cambridge thanks to organiser Geoff Kaniuk. 24 players played, qualified based on tournament results in the twelve months up to the end of March, though not all played every round.
The qualifiers to join British Champion Andrew Kay in the Challengers' League are:
However, Des Cann is this year's UK rep for the World Amateur, so will not play and his qualification for the Challengers' League is deferred for one year. His place is taken by the next placed person: Toby Manning 1d on 4/6.
The English Chess Federation publishes its entire membership list for all to see (members and non-members alike can access this). This shows what type of membership people have paid for and when their membership expires. It does not of course give out private email addresses. I imagine it publishes the list so that tournament organisers can charge and subsequently pay over the correct levy for grading purposes.
Should we do something similar for the BGA?
Posted as a result of a comment on the Gotalk mailing list by Richard Mullens.
Alistair Wall made an early start in the new season of the Stacey Grand Prix by winning the 2015 Welwyn Garden City Tournament. Coming first at this four round event, held at the Red Lion in Hatfield, means he starts in the lead and looks like he has a good chance of retaining the trophy he collected at the British for the previous 2014-2015 season.
Others of the 24 players who won prizes for three wins were Ngoc-Trang Cao (2d Strasbourg), Tim Hunt (2d Milton Keynes), Karim Secker (5k), Melchior Chui (9k Cambridge), Ben Murphy (10k Billericay) and Alex Terry (10k Bungay). Grimsby's Daffyd Robinson (11k) won the fighting spirit prize.